|MY BLOOD RUNS COLD (director: William Conrad; screenwriters: John Mantley/from the story The Girl Who Was Two by John Meredyth Lucas; cinematographer: Sam Leavitt; editor: William Ziegler; music: George Duning; cast: Troy Donahue (Ben Gunther), Joey Heatherton (Julie Merriday), Barry Sullivan (Julian Merriday), Nicolas Coster (Harry Lindsay), Jeanette Nolan (Sarah Merriday), Russell Thorson (Sheriff R. Seaton), Ben Wright (Lansbury); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Conrad; Warner Bros.; 1965)|
|"An enthralling horror
thriller, envisioned as a ghost romance
by Dennis Schwartz
enthralling horror thriller, envisioned as a ghost
romance story. The heart-throb star of the 1950s and
1960s, Troy Donahue, goes against type and plays a
lunatic killer. It's intriguingly directed by
William Conrad ("Brainstorm"/"Side
on a Guillotine") when he was at Warners.
Though it's filled with many flaws that make it seem
incredulous and a weak ending that was overwrought
with melodrama, I found that the interesting Donahue
performance made it a must-see for his fans and those
critics who previously believed his range of acting
was too limited. Later on in his career Conrad made
his Hollywood rep as an actor on the TV show Cannon.
is based on the story The Girl Who Was
Two by John Meredyth Lucas, and is written
by John Mantley. The title comes from
a sonnet by Lord Byron.
film is set in Dolphin Bay, California. The
21-year-old headstrong beautiful spoiled heiress, Julie Merriday
(Joey Heatherton), is speeding in
her luxury car while accompanied by her polite
long-time easy going square lawyer boyfriend, Harry
Lindsay (Nicolas Coster). He is
also her father's junior partner. Julie is recklessly
going around the seacoast's winding road, where a
truck is stalled on the curve. As a result her T-bird
convertible crashes into the motorcycle driven by the
mysterious Ben Gunther (Troy Donahue).
Julie and the passenger are unharmed, while the
motorcycle is totaled but the driver is not seriously
injured. Julie takes the hunky blond stranger to her
family mansion to meet her gruff, possessive, ruthless
businessman father Julian (Barry Sullivan) and her
well-bred spinster middle-aged Aunt Sarah (Jeanette
Nolan). Ben keeps staring at and calling
Julie by the name of Barbara, whom he claims was
Julie's great great grandmother and relates a story
that they were tragic lovers in the 19th century. He
tells of her strict father not letting her marry the
poor sailor and tells that it was him who impregnated
her with an illegitimate child. When Barbara died at
childbirth, the child was adopted by a rich family who
gave the kid the name of Merriday. The family
historian, Aunt Sarah, verifies that through the
bastard child the Merridays got their name and wealth.
as it may be to believe, Ben convinces Julie they are
the reincarnations of Ben and Barbara. During a heavy
storm they elope in his small boat to marry in Mexico.
But the sheriff investigates the death of the Merriday
family caretaker and the coroner declares it a
murder by strangulation. Also the corpse of the real
owner of the small ketch Ben is on washes ashore and
his death is also by strangulation. A fingerprint
check reveals that Ben is an escaped inmate from a
mental institution, and the Coast Guard is called in
to search for the couple.
got tired of playing the same goody-goody roles at
Warners, where his film career kicked off playing
opposite Sandra Dee in the 1959 A Summer Place. The
popular actor made Jack Warner livid when he opted out
of his contract with two years left because he wanted
more meaty parts. The result was that he never got
starring roles again. Donahue believes he was
black-balled by the Warners in Hollywood.
REVIEWED ON 4/12/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ